NASA's Enterprise Service Desk

This blog post is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Your Roadmap to IT Modernization.”

Information technology (IT) modernization is one of the hottest topics across government today. IT modernization has revolutionized efficiency, convenience and effectiveness for all users. That’s why agencies within federal, state and local government are eager to take advantage of all that modernization efforts can offer. Take NASA, for example. NASA’s modernization project focused on helping its employees deliver better services and allowing outside users to easily navigate the website and interact with the agency.

As early as 2012, NASA decided to update its IT services to help create a one-stop shop for both internal employees and the public to easily access. NASA’s Information Technology Infrastructure Integration Program (I3P) has transformed NASA’s IT infrastructure services from a center-based model to a standard, enterprise-based management and provisioning model shared across the agency. The scope of I3P is broad, entailing consolidation and central management of IT services in the areas of Tier-0/1 service desk and ordering, web services and technologies, enterprise business and management applications, integrated network/communications services and end-user services.

To get a better understanding of the need for this modernization effort, GovLoop sat down with Paul Rydeen, Engineering Services Contract (ESC) Program Officer at NASA during the Federal Now Forum, hosted by ServiceNow. Rydeen acknowledged that while the need to modernize might seem obvious, it might not be as obvious to everyone in your organization. “However, it’s important to get buy-in ahead of time to encourage more user acceptance and deliver better user experience,” Rydeen said.

What does modernization mean to NASA? In order to save on costs while updating platforms for the shared services center, NASA moved many of its services to those in the cloud, including the ServiceNow platform. “For us, [modernization] meant moving to the cloud, finding the right software and virtualization,” Rydeen said.

The NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) provides services across the agency in five functional areas including agency IT services and selected activities in financial management, human resources and procurement, and business support services. The Tier-0 website acts as a gateway for NASA users. Employees or citizens with NASA accounts can access hundreds of knowledge articles, submit a ticket, check the status of a ticket, order a new service, check order status and view notifications.

“We have two help desks on either side of the hall. One is about IT and one is for the non IT work we do for HR procurement,” Rydeen said. “This desk overall helps generate and track a lot of calls from members of the public.”

Takeaway: NASA’s NSSC helps employees and citizens alike easily access NASA’s vast array of services. Modernization projects that compartmentalize services into one resource center can help agencies deliver better services to citizens while also improving their employees’ experiences and overall productivity.

If your agency is looking to modernize by consolidating your IT resources in a shared services center, you may want to consider the following examples from NASA:

  • Get user buy-in from the beginning
  • Consider moving services to the cloud to save on costs
  • Ensure enough staff are available to answer questions internally and to citizens accessing your agency from outside

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